If you are looking for a great deal on used office equipment, an auction might be the way to go. Auctions give start-ups, small businesses, or home offices the opportunity to purchase office equipment that might normally not be able to afford on a tight budget. There are several reasons an auction might be held, such as business liquidity, moving sales, fundraisers for non-profits, or government agencies selling surplus or confiscated items (eg GovDeals).
There are live and online auctions and each can be found by searching the Internet, reading the local newspaper, or subscribing to auction house e-mail alerts. Before you participate in an auction, find out of if the company hosting the auction is a legitimate company, licensed, or bonded. Next, make a general list of items you need and are willing to purchase used, eg a color printer, a laser fax machine, a desktop computer; then decide the max you are willing to spend on each. Often times, buyers can preview the office equipment going up for auction first via a catalog or in person. This will give you a chance to make a more detailed list of the office equipment you may want to bid on based on the description. If possible, inspect the items in person and "kick the tires" so to speak. If time allows, you can take it one step further and research the particular makes and models you are interested in online to check past ratings and current values. The past ratings may force you to eliminate some items from your list and the current values will help determine your spending cap.
If you decide to bid on an item, review the terms and conditions first. If the office equipment is sold "as-is", you will be responsible for any maintenance and repairs necessary to get the item up and running. It might be a good idea to verify if the manufacturer warranty is still active as well. While at a live or online auction, it's imperative to give it your full attention. Once a bid is placed, there is no turning back; so, you want to make sure that you are bidding on the correct piece of office equipment.
Have you ever purchased office equipment from an auction? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Please share the details with us, like what items did you buy, did you feel like you got a great deal, and will you ever purchase office equipment from an auction again?